December 2004 Free Public Programs at the National Archives
Press Release · Friday, October 29, 2004

Washington, DC . . . In December, the National Archives and Records Administration presents an outstanding series of free film screenings and lectures, along with a special weekend of family activities related to the recently released Disney film National Treasure and a traditional naturalization ceremony.

The McGowan Theater is located in the National Archives Building on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC. Room G-24 is located in the National Archives Building Customer Service Center. Please note: the public must use the National Archives Building Pennsylvania Avenue entrance between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, to access Room G-24. Some lectures will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, facility.

Wednesday, December 1
LECTURE: Senate Nomination File
Room G-24

Archives technician John Deeben will discuss the content and organization of Senate papers relating to Presidential nominations for Federal employment, as well as their value and accessibility for genealogy research. 11 a.m. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, in Lecture Room C, on Friday, December 3, at 11 a.m.)

Tuesday, December 7
FILM: Pearl Harbor
William G. McGowan Theater

The National Archives presents the rarely seen 85-minute version of December 7th (1943), John Ford's documentary about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Because of official objections to some of the ideas expressed in the film, it was cut into shorter versions before being released to the public. One of the edited versions won an Academy Award in 1943. Produced by the Naval Photographic Branch, Office of Strategic Services. (85 minutes) Noon

Thursday, December 9
LECTURE: Vietnam War
William G. McGowan Theater

Historian Lewis Sorley will discuss Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, 1968–1972 (Texas Tech University Press, 2004). Through the transcribed words of Gen. Creighton Abrams, Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, William Colby, and other top leaders at Saigon strategy sessions, the book reveals new secrets, resolves old arguments, and provides fresh insights into the latter years of America’s longest war. 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 11 – Sunday, December 12
FAMILY WEEKEND EVENTS: "The Real National Treasures"

Show off your acting skills, sharpen your sleuthing abilities, and enjoy hands-on activities as the National Archives celebrates the recently released Disney film National Treasure, in which treasure hunters try to steal the Declaration of Independence. Have fun participating in a reenactment that allows you to experience two of our nation’s greatest dramas—the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution. Learn how skilled artisans create ink and paper to make documents similar to those of long ago. Watch demonstrations by conservation experts who reveal how the real "national treasures" are protected and cared for. Explore gadgets used for actual covert missions throughout history. These family activities and more will be part of a weekend-long celebration. The investigation of covert missions and paraphernalia will be presented by History Is a Hoot, Inc. The reenactment activities will be led by interpreters from the Adams National Historical Park. Look for more details and times on: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day

Tuesday, December 14
FILM: The Great Depression
William G. McGowan Theater

This award-winning 1983 compilation of rare footage conveys the psychological impact of the economic and social collapse that accompanied the Great Depression in the United States. Guided by historians, the filmmakers spent three and a half years researching and assembling period film, photographs, and other materials. They accumulated revealing images of how America reacted to the loss of its dreams of prosperity and how these dreams were rebuilt. Produced by Tom Johnson; directed by Lance Bird; narrated by Pat Hingle. (59 minutes). Noon

Tuesday, December 14
LECTURE: Records Relating to Merchant Vessels
Room G-24

Archivist Susan Abbott will discuss the various research paths to tracking the histories of 19th-century and early 20th-century merchant ships. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, in Lecture Room C, on Thursday, December 16, at 11 a.m.) 11 a.m.

Wednesday, December 15
Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

The National Archives, in partnership with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, continues its tradition of holding a naturalization ceremony for petitioners seeking American citizenship. This year’s ceremony, which will take place on the 213th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights, will be held in the newly renovated Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives Building. The moving ceremony is open to petitioners’ families and guests as well as to a limited number of members of the public holding tickets. Tickets are free but must be reserved by calling 202-501-5313, ext. 246. 10:00 a.m.
*Please note that, because of the ceremony, the Rotunda will not open to the public until 11:30 a.m. that day. Regular winter hours of 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. resume on Thursday, December 16.

Wednesday, December 15
LECTURE: Founding Mothers
William G. McGowan Theater

Political commentator and news analyst Cokie Roberts will discuss her book Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their businesses, raised their children, provided them with political advice, and made it possible for the men to do what they did. The behind-the-scenes influence of these women— and their sometimes very public activities—was intelligent and pervasive. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the stories of these women, bringing to life the everyday trials and triumphs of individuals such as Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington. 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 16
LECTURE: USS Constitution
William G. McGowan Theater

Col. David Fitz-Enz, USA (Ret.), will discuss his latest book, Old Ironsides, Eagle of the Sea: The Story of the USS Constitution. The life story of the "Eagle of the Sea" is dominated by conflicts that lasted for years and carried the frigate far from home. Among the first American navy ships, she defended the American maritime from French privateers, Barbary pirates, and the British Royal navy during the first 20 years of her service. It was the British that gave her the name "Ironsides" when their cannon balls bounced harmlessly off her sturdy hull and sank into the sea. Fitz-Enz puts the story of the great ship into historical perspective, exploring the challenges of seafaring in the "Age of Sail." Navigation before the days of satellite positioning is explained from dead reckoning to the search for longitude. 7 p.m.

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For PRESS information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or (202) 501-5526.

To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 501-5000, the hearing impaired should call TDD (202) 501-5404 for information, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at:


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